Category Archives: pinball basics

Get that bonus: What a pinball bonus is and why it’s important

If you’re just starting out in pinball, you may not know all the rules and techniques, but you do know that a higher score is a better score (profound, I know).  And one important way to increase your score is to boost your bonus.

Bonus, in pinball, is the score you receive after you drain a ball and your turn is over.  (There are exceptions to this which we’ll cover, which allow the player to collect the bonus during the turn and while the ball is still in play.)  You build up and increase the bonus you receive by performing well during your turn and hitting certain scoring objectives.

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If you’re not tilting, you’re not trying.

TILT pinball machine

Photo: cc

Tilting is a bad thing, right?  Well, essentially, yes, as it’s considered a penalty that the machine gives you.  But in some ways, if you’re tilting, that can be a good thing….I’ll get philosophical in a moment, but let’s clarify these two terms for beginners:

Nudging is using physical force to move a pinball machine with the intent being to manipulate the ball’s movement.  Nudging in pinball is perfectly legal.

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The 10 commandments of pinball etiquette

24990748I grew up playing golf as a kid, a game in which players need to learn its rules of etiquette as much as they need to learn how to swing a club properly. It’s a fascinating game because unlike other sports that have referees or officials to enforce the rules, players are expected to rely on their own integrity to show consideration for other players and to abide by the rules.

Pinball, I would argue, is very similar to golf:  you can play by yourself or with a group (up to four people, a “foursome”).  There’s no referees or officials monitoring your every move, but they can be called in on rare occasions to help make a ruling.  And it’s a game of individuals, rather than a team sport.

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How To Start A Game of Pinball (Don’t Be a Noob)

“Really?  A post on how to start a game??  Who doesn’t know this?”

Well, beginning players may not know.  People who’ve never seen a pinball machine won’t.  While it seems rather intuitive, you’d be surprised at the number of people I’ve seen over the last 4 years ask me how you start a game.  So fear not beginner, here’s how to do it (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you asked):

1)  If the machine you’re playing is in a public location, you need to feed it some money.  20150121_180025

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Four Tips All Beginning Players Need To Know

Just started playing pinball?  Want to get better instantly?  Well, if you abide by these 4 tips, your play will improve immediately.

1)  Don’t Double Flip

I should have put that in all caps.  OK, let me say it again, DON’T DOUBLE FLIP.  What is double flipping?  It’s a cardinal sin many new players commit.  Panicked by the ball, they’ll furiously hit both flipper buttons at the same time, desperately trying to bat it away from draining.  Here’s a lovely visual:


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